Reviews by Diane S.

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Falling Together: A Novel
by Marisa De Los Santos
Falling Together by Marisa De Los Santos (8/31/2011)
hat a wonderful feel good book. Cat, Pen and Will meet in college and form an intense friendship. Thinking that the level of their friendship can neither be maintained nor let any one else in they decide to go their separate ways. Will and Pen come together 8 years later when Cat's husband tells them Cat is missing. This book explores the friendships one forms, the meaning of family and how people are only gone when they are forgotten.
Darkness, My Old Friend: A Novel
by Lisa Unger
Darkness my Old Friend by Lisa Unger (8/19/2011)
Four threads tie together in this psychological suspense novel. Elois the psychic from Unger's previous novel Fragile. plays a prominent role in this one and she is a character that I find very interesting. Also Jones Cooper attempts to find a new phase in his life after leaving the police dept. and is of course embroiled in these story lines. Secrets, how the past affects the future and a young girl attempting to come to terms with her new home and life are the main basis of this book.
Bad Intentions: An Inspector Sejer Mystery
by Karin Fossum
Bad Intentions by Karen Fossum (8/16/2011)
Fossum manages to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of pages. Interesting psychological story about three friends who make a serious mistake which haunts them in varying degrees. Love these Nordic mysteries.
Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel
by S.J. Watson
Before I go to sleep by S.J. Watson (7/18/2011)
This book would make a great Hitchcock film. Suspense, twists and a completely original story, very well written for a fist novel. The ending was a little to pat for my liking but still a good read. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
Turn of Mind
by Alice LaPlante
Turn of Mind by Alice Laplante (7/15/2011)
One can quickly run out of adjectives describing this novel but I will use chilling and heartbreaking. The reader follows Dr. Jennifer White, age 64, former orthopedic surgeon, as she sinks in the grip of dementia. This story is brilliantly related as she lapses in and out of reality, remembers farther and farther back, secrets of the past are revealed as the filters in her mind disintegrate and her mood changes become more pronounced. She is also being investigated for the murder of her best friend by a woman police detective who refuses to give up, believing that if she talks to Jennifer on the right day the truth will be revealed.
Secret of the White Rose: A Novel
by Stefanie Pintoff
Secret of the White Rose by Stefanie Pintoff (7/13/2011)
Probably a 3 1/2 because although I did enjoy the third book of this series, I did not like it as much as the first. Do like all the history imparted though, the beginning of criminology, the anarchist movement and the beginnings of the fight for workers rights. Also the recurring characters are very interesting, Alastair the criminologist, his daughter in law who helps him and Simon Ziele a policeman who is often called to assist in investigating the crimes. Historical mystery lovers will enjoy this series.
Breaking Silence: A Kate Burkholder Mystery
by Linda Castillo
Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo (7/12/2011)
One of my favorites of the newer series, this is the third, Kate was raised Amish but leaves the church due to the way a tragedy was handled in her life when she was younger. Now as police chief she investigates crimes among the Amish. Good storylines, characters and a lot of info about the Amish and their beliefs as well as the way that they live. Anyone who likes good mysteries or have any curiosity about the Amish will like this series.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (6/22/2011)
It takes a rare author to make you feel that you are in the Amazon jungle with the book characters. Interesting storyline about drug companies and research as well as a rogue scientist and missing, presumed dead researcher. Also all the descriptions of the jungle and the native people, their customs and native plants really added to the story. Enjoyed it though I thought the ending could have been a little stronger.
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes: A Novel
by Marcus Sakey
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey (6/19/2011)
A man wakes up naked on a beach and doesn't remember where he is or how he got there. From there it is all thrills and chills as he attempts to find out what happened to him and where he belongs. Plenty of twists and turns, with some very good characters and some not so nice people. Sakey's writing is as always suspenseful and he's from Chicago.
Misery Bay: An Alex McKnight Novel
by Steve Hamilton
Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton (6/17/2011)
A book that is set in a place you live or at least visited always seems more interesting and the upper peninsula in Michigan is one of my favorite places. Yet even if I had never been there Hamilton does such a great job that one can feel the extreme cold and at times the desolation and loneliness of living there. AS usual he is consistent and keeps his storylines interesting as well as his characters. Great mystery with many twists and turns, I have never been disappointed reading one of his novels.
Very Bad Men: A Novel
by Harry Dolan
Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan (6/15/2011)
A thrilling story with strong characters. Logan, editor of Grey Streets, is at times amusing and at times brash, his girlfriend, she of the glass beads, is a detective who is called to investigate a dead body at the same time Logan receives a manuscript detailing the murder. A lot of suspense, twists and turns as they try to figure out the perpetrator of the crimes. Good read for all suspense aficionados. This is Harry Dolan's 2nd book.
Faith: A Novel
by Jennifer Haigh
Faith by Jennifer Haigh (6/8/2011)
When I first started reading this book I thought one would have to be Catholic to identify with this story but that was because the author did such a fantastic job with the tone and the setting. I could just picture my old neighborhood and Catholic school in Chicago, really felt like I was there again. When you read further, however, you realize there is so much more to this book and the problems it outlines could pertain to so many other things, anyone who reads the papers will find this relevant. How quick we are to judge without considering a person can be innocent but their lives are ruined nontheless and not just theirs but family and friends alike. This is probably one of the best novels I have read in a long time.
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead: A Novel
by Sara Gran
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead (6/7/2011)
Loved this book, first in a new series. Unique character in Claire and a real sense of setting and the emotional makeup of the people involved in the story. Felt for the first time that I had a understanding of what the people actually went through and felt after Katrina as well as their feelings for the only home the knew, New Orleans. She also explained the effects of PTSD on its residents. Hard to come up with an original concept in a mystery series but Sara Gran has done it.
The Language of Flowers: A Novel
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Language of Flowers (5/31/2011)
From its wonderful cover (simple but elegant) to the wonderful characters this book is one that I enjoyed immensely. It is such a unique concept to use the language of flowers as a form of communication and I liked learning the meanings of these flowers. All of us have baggage from the past we try to deal with and it was heartbreaking yet joyful to watch Victoria struggle and than to grow as a person and someone who is able to accept and give love. Readers of Anne River Siddons, Elizabeth Berg and Anita Shreve will love this book.
The Story of Beautiful Girl: A Novel
by Rachel Simon
Story of Beautiful girl (5/20/2011)
I had only read to page 11 when I had the feeling that this book was going to be something special and quite possibly one of the best books I have read this year. So it was. I am usually a quick reader but when I like a book a lot I tend to slow down quite a bit as I did with this book. One night changes the lives of all the characters, either directly or indirectly,and it is in turn heartbreaking, compassionate and joyful.
The Fallen Angel: A Nic Costa Novel
by David Hewson
The Fallen Angel (5/19/2011)
When the Da Vinci code was so popular a friend of mine told me that her husband read the Nic Costa stories by Hewson and liked them much better than he had liked the Da Vinci Code. So I picked one up and thought he was absolutely right. Not only are they more centered and less frantically paced but the characters are more developed and the storylines are wonderful, filled with a lot of historical details about Rome. Historical mystery readers will love these books.
The Kitchen Daughter: A Novel
by Jael McHenry
The Kitchen Daughter (5/7/2011)
Delightful but poignant book about a young woman with Aspergers trying to come to term with her parents death. She uses cooking as a way to calm herself when she finds situations beyond her coping skills. She find that when she cooks a handwritten recipe the writer of the recipe appears in her kitchen. In this way she finds the answers she needs to overcome problems with her sister and the way to a life on her terms. Readers of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen will enjoy this book.
The Philosopher's Kiss: A Novel
by Peter Prange
The Philosopher's Kiss (5/5/2011)
Amazing book set in Paris and Versailles about the making of the encyclopedia. We take so much for granted now but these philosophers, Diderot, Voltaire and others actually put their lives on the line to make this book for the future. It was considered heresy by the Catholic Church and stopped again and again by the French crown. Also imparted interesting facts about their personal lives including Diderot's love affair with Sophie Volland whose own mother had been burned as a witch. Historical fiction fans will find much to appreciate with this book.
Bent Road: A Novel
by Lori Roy
Bent Road (5/3/2011)
A very darkly forbidding book, but kept me interested and reading. Family secrets, assumptions, come back to haunt a family moving back home to Kansas from Detroit. From the very beginning one senses there is going to be something violent happening. Well written first novel
The Tiger's Wife: A Novel
by Téa Obreht
The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht (4/3/2011)
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. It was exceptionally well written by one so young, a story about a young doctor, Natalia, who while on her way to an orphanage with inoculations finds out her beloved but terminally ill grandfather is dead. He was, however, in a place he should not have been and she sets out to find out why. She uses stories he had told her while growing up to help make sense of his death and the mystery of his location. In some places it got tiring reading about the old stories while trying to make sense of the new. Anyway I have mixed feelings about this book.

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